Steve Dyson in his blog reviewing regional newspapers, hosted by HoldtheFrontPage, announces a new feature today: 'Pointless story of the week'. His first winner comes from the paper he is reviewing, The Gazette, Blackpool, and is headlined 'Caravan raid': "Officers are searching for a burglar who forced his way into a caravan at North Drive, Cleveleys, some time between Sunday and Tuesday. Nothing was stolen." I was at the same conference as Steve last week, Local Heroes, organised by Press Gazette and Kingston University. Sir Ray Tindle, the king of the regional weeklies, gave the keynote speech and spoke movingly about how he had saved the Tenby Observer (established 1853) from the clutches of the Receiver. Sir Ray told how he put the paper back on the road to success by insisting on local news. "A cat must not have kittens in Tenby unless it is covered in the Observer, but forget the rest of West Wales," he told the paper's staff. They obeyed instructions and produced a "magnificent" Tenby paper, Sir Ray said, adding proudly: "They had localised the paper as I had asked - literally. Here is a quote from the front page 'Theft of two clothes brushes from caravan'. " To Steve that might be a non-story; but Sir Ray, showing his grasp of the latest media trends, asked: "Could this be another early example of being hyper-local?"
I am a freelance journalist based in the UK and was deputy editor of Press Gazette, the journalists' magazine, from 1993 until 2006. I want to give an independent view on media matters.
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